Team Rashad spent most of the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter treating its opponents like training dummies. As they won more fights, their confidence and comradery grew. Ironically, they also grew closer to inevitable happening that they’d have to fight themselves once the lovable misfits from Team Rampage got wiped out. The first intra-squad matchup happens tonight so let’s take a look at Roy Nelson vs. Justin Wren.
Nelson walked into the house this season as the runaway favorite to win the whole show while Wren was relatively inexperienced and unknown, but in the first round of fights it was Wren who was able to finish in convincing fashion. Nelson’s win was hardly impressive and Kimbo Slice had him in trouble a few times during the stand-up exchanges, but he did exactly what he wanted and got the “W.”
Wren, who fought Wes Sims, did a nice job of controlling his opponent on the fence and avoiding Sims’ clinch work. He scored a takedown relatively easily and Sims put up almost no fight against the mount or the arm triangle that finished the fight. But Wren will have a much tougher challenge with Nelson.
It’s unlikely that he’ll be able to control Nelson on the feet the way he did with Sims and there’s absolutely no way he can pass guard and sink in a submission as effortlessly. Nelson’s grappling is world-class. We only got to see Justin’s ground game for a few seconds but it’s probably safe to assume Nelson would have the edge on the mat. On the feet however, Wren might gave a chance. Again, we didn’t get to see much of his game, but he seemed to have some power and he definitely displayed good movement. We know that Nelson’s gameplan is going to be avoiding damage, so if Wren shows some aggression and attacks Nelson he might be able to expose an unwillingness to engage. If Nelson focuses too much energy on avoiding Wren’s assault, his own offense might suffer. In other words, he’ll be so worried about not getting hit that he’ll forget to thrown any punches (sort of). He’ll have to be careful not to walk into the heavy hands of Nelson, but if he can get past the jab and find a hole he could land some clean blows.
He might be able to knock out the former IFL champ but at the very least it’ll help him earn points with the judges.